Montagnana is one of the most beautiful walled cities in Italy. The medieval city walls that extend for nearly 2 Km are preserved virtually intact and enclose the elegant city centre. It is located about 50 km from Padova.
Montagnana's strategic position favoured settlements, since the town is located along the regional road 10 Padana Inferiore, about 50 km from the towns of Padova, Verona, Vicenza, Mantova, and Ferrara, and 80 km from Venice. The area was already inhabited in the late Neolithic Age and , in Roman times, Montagnana was the ideal location to control the entire region. A military garrison was built to guard the bridge on the river Adige along the via Emilia Altinate (until it was destroyed in 589AD by a major flood.)
In the 10th century frequent and devastating raids by the Hungarians promoted the construction of a fortifications in Montagnana, centered around the San Zeno Castel. The small fortified village later became the feudal centre of Marquesses Este and participated int he struggle between the Papacy and the Empire. In the 12th century, the army of Ezzelino II da Romano, the Imperial viceroy of Frederick II, fought against the Guelph League of the Marquesses Este, who supported the Pope. In 1242 after been burnt down the city was conquered by Ezzelino, who stated to rebuilding the walls, raising the Mastio (a medieval tower) that still bears his name.
In 1275 Montagnana was included into the municipality of Padova. The portions of the brick walls near the two fortified gates date back to those times. During the 14th Century, except for a short period (1317-1337) under the Della Scala family, Montagnana was part of the seigneury of the Carrara family, rulers of Padova. In th 14th century the city became part of the Serenissima (Republic of Venice) the city had lost some of its strategic importance but location along trade routes attracted Veneto aristocrats who but several important villa.